Output decline in Hungary and Poland in 1990-91 : structural change and aggregate shocks
The authors try to distinguish between general and national features in explaining the impulse, transmission channels, and path of output decline in Hungary and Poland. It is clear that output losses are massively concentrated in the socialized industrial sectors, but they identify significant differences in the distribution of those losses and their associated employment outcomes; in the timing and degree of synchronization of those losses; and in the two countries'different policy responses to these powerful recessionary pressures. In particular, they try to separate shocks particular to a sudden (Polish) big bang and those attributable to a more gradual path of reform (Hungary). The contrast between Hungary and Poland is less robust than initial impressions led one to expect. By 1991, both economies have open trade regimes, and a practically fully liberalized price system. The magnitude of shocks to both economies and the accompanying macroeconomic policies clearly diverged. The role of macroeconomic policies was easier to isolate in 1990, before the full effects of the CMEA shock could be felt. Interestingly, in 1990, the decline in output was far smaller in Hungary than in Poland, and was of rather a different nature. In 1990, employment declined more rapidly than output in Hungary, but lagged sharply behind output in Poland. So productivity increased, albeit marginally, in Hungary, while declining sharply in Poland. Contrary to expectations, the Polish big bang approach has produced less adjustment than the more gradual approach followed by Hungary. One reason for this could be the lack of progress on microeconomic reforms that have accompanied the drastic shift in macroeconomic policies. But the authors suggest that this result could also be associated with the two different paths to reform, the big bang and gradualism.
|Date of creation:||30 Nov 1992|
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